Critic Reviews



Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The Hollywood Reporter
Not only is the film a powerful historical record and a warning for future generations, it is an essential reminder to people, including many in Japan today, who might deny that this massacre ever occurred. As such, Nanking honors the highest calling of documentary filmmaking.
I have rarely, if ever, seen a documentary reconstruction of a historical event that is so rich in firsthand (and well-preserved) photographic material.
Thorough and sadly engrossing documentary.
What Guttentag and Sturman gain in dramatic immediacy, however, they lose when it comes to historical context, and the chance to offer insight into why such things occur in the first place -- and continue to happen today -- is lost.
The stories are harrowing, and because they are delivered by living, breathing witnesses, they move us in deep ways that the archival footage, for all its horror, cannot.
It is the devastating testimony from survivors themselves that leaves the most indelible impression.
Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but few today have heard about what was infamous as the Rape of Nanking, when 200,000 residents of what was then China's capital were massacred by invading Japanese troops.
Chicago Tribune
Whatever the numbers, testimony cited in Nanking portrays the episode as a horrifying chapter in man's renowned inhumanity to man.
While at times the film begins to feel like a laundry list of bad deeds, the first-person accounts pack a wallop.
A handsome documentary on a brutal subject.
Nanking, a carefully nonpunitive documentary of remembrance, is emotionally draining, as it should be, but it's also overstructured, as it needn't be; the actors are intrusive in a story that isn't theirs.
The first-person recollections of Nanking's survivors are as uncommonly wrenching as their captors were brutally thorough.

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